Alcohol consumption is declining in Australia, but the spirit category is bucking the trend. And IRI data shows that it’s gin leading the charge.
What makes this news particularly good for retailers is that gin buyers are less price sensitive than other liquor shoppers.
Shopper Intelligence noted this week during its webinar – “Off Premise Liquor: Know your Shopper, Unlock your Growth” – that unlike most other categories, quality is the number one purchase driver for gin, not price.
Survey results released by Roy Morgan in March showed that gin experienced the largest growth in consumption over the past 12 months.
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said: “Increasing demand has led to a surge in boutique distilleries as well as far greater variety for the curious bottle-shop browser who wishes to experiment.
“As well as being the most enthusiastic gin tipplers (10.2%), the 50-64 age group contains the highest proportion of drinkers overall, with 71% regularly consuming alcohol.”
Australia’s top-selling gins
Those survey findings are backed up by data from IRI, which shows gin growth for the 12 months ending 03/05/20 is tracking at +33.4%.
Gordon’s continues to dominate the gin category, with strong performance in both the core London Dry products and the newer Pink Gin variety.
For the four weeks to 05/04/2020 – the prime COVID-19 stockpiling period – gin was up just over 60% on the prior year. However, Gordon’s showed over 90% growth vs YA for the same period with contribution to category growth increasing to 40%.
Sales have returned to relatively normal levels in most liquor segments, but IRI data shows gin has continued to over perform (+38% vs YA) with Gordon’s a key driver of this (+59% vs YA), still contributing a little over 40% of total gin growth.
According to IRI, other notable brands contributing to gin growth in the four weeks to April 5 were Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, Roku and Four Pillars.
Australian local boutique gin distillers also saw incredible growth in the spirit category, however off significantly lower bases than the established global brands.
Australia’s top 10 gin brands
Based on total dollar sales to April 5, IRI data shows the top brands were:
- Gordon’s Gin London Dry Gin 700ml
- Bombay Sapphire Gin 700ml
- Gordon’s Gin London Dry Gin 1l
- Tanqueray Gin 700ml
- Tanqueray Gin 1l
- Gordon’s Gin Pink Gin 700ml
- Hendricks Gin 700ml
- Bombay Sapphire Gin 1l
- Roku Gin 700ml
- Four Pillars Gin Rare Dry 700ml
Gordon’s Gin London Dry Gin (700ml) retails for around $38, with Bombay Sapphire (700ml) at around $49 and Tanqueray at around $45.
Roku takes the price point up a notch at $55, while Four Pillars Rare Dry retails at $78.
The Aussie gin boom
Australia’s number one gin brand, Four Pillars, was founded in 2013 by Cam Mackenzie, Stu Gregor and Matt Jones. Lion bought a 50% stake in the business in 2019, with the distiller’s sales topping $25 million for the year. In the past 12 months, the brand has experienced 70% sales growth.
Caroline Childerley, founder of The Gin Queen and Icons of Gin Communicator of the Year, said there are now more than 500 different Australian gins on the market.
Childerley noted at Food & Drink Business: “What sets Australian gins apart are the native botanicals our distillers use, like boobialla (native juniper), kakadu plum, lilly pilly, sea lettuce and even green ants!
“According to Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria – Melbourne Gardens director Professor Tim Entwisle, at least 20,000 of all plant species in Australia – about 80% of the country’s total – don’t grow anywhere else in the world.
“This puts our gin industry in a unique position to assert itself on the global stage with spirits that have a strong connection to where they are made.”